Frequently, this blog works with various third-party organizations (such as agencies, nonprofits, startups, and other entities) on crafting content focused on community-based social benefit initiatives in the city of Chicago. This allows us a wide range of coverage while keeping a relatively narrow focus. As a marketing, PR and copywriting professional myself, I blog about these activities to stay "in the know" and as an outlet for writing. In that spirit, I am offering some great "first steps" for PR professionals and other organizations reaching out to this blog.
Read The Blog to Determine Appropriate "Fit": Your best first step is to read this introductory post about blogger relations, and then review the rest of the blog for similar posts. It's easy when you're looking for an outlet to catch the first obvious entry; reviewing several of our posts over a short period and/or about a particular topic can help you better decide whether we're a good enough "fit" for what you're seeking. We've developed some great relationships with a select group of organizations and individuals for leads, and we're more than willing to work with you within some limits. (If you want a great resource, check out The Little Book of Big PR).
We do not offer testimonials, product reviews, or "sponsored content": Although we sometimes receive press passes for larger events (like Cyber Security Chicago), we take an objective approach to covering our subjects. Books that we review are usually purchased out of our own pocket or checked out via Chicago Public Library. We do not take direct payment for crafting posts (following Chicago Now policy) and we will frequently turn down a story that does not or will not fit with our mission. (We may attend live demos of software packages, but otherwise, we try to avoid accepting products for review). And this leads to our next point...
We Follow FTC Disclosure Guidelines With No Exceptions: We take blogger disclosure very seriously, and we work to follow the most up-to-date FTC disclosure guidelines. This means that if we acquire free passes to an event (like Cyber Security Chicago), we will disclose that fact in the blog. Although there may be occasional guest posts and appearances, we may highlight them briefly but do not rely on them to generate blog content. Our goal is to remain committed to highlighting organizations and initiatives that may not necessarily receive much press (like the Belmont Cragin Quality-of-Life Plan) and/or have a unique approach or presence (like people highlighted in our "Meet Your Neighbor" series).
Chicago Now retains full editorial and creative control of any piece: Although we will make revisions based on errors of fact and grammar, we believe that working with any organization starts with basic trust. Although we're happy to work with PR professionals, we have to strike a balance between providing an objective view and "controlling the narrative." When interviewing/working with organizations, we work towards a comprehensive summary and objective narration about their efforts. In some instances where time and distance are factors, we can easily opt to run full interviews. Examples of this include:
- LISC Chicago/North Lawndale Employment Network/Sunshine Enterprises Partnership
- West Monroe Partners/Corporate Social Responsibility Part One
- West Monroe Partners/Corporate Social Responsibility Part Two
- Dawn Xiana Moon of Raks Geek/Immigration Rights Part One
- Dawn Xiana Moon of Raks Geek/Immigration Rights Part Two
- Karlyn Meyer of Lighthouse Foundation
If you have questions, you can find my contact information via this blog's About page.
Comments on our blog and Facebook page are moderated: We encourage healthy discussion, but we discourage trolling. We want to ensure that all voices are heard, but also set hard boundaries around more toxic online behavior. Most of our readers are tolerant and respectful of others' viewpoints, and we've rarely had to delete comments (except for spam). However, we are willing to ensure that our blog maintains that respectful, tolerant tone.
Questions or concerns? Contact us! You can send me a private note via this email contact page, and you're always welcome to contact us with questions or concerns.
As part of the Chicago Now family of blogs, we're proud to provide voices and insights into those Chicago organizations and individuals who are doing great work. We're proud of what we've achieved over the past few years, and we're always grateful for those who bring such stories to our attention. As always, thanks for reading!